By Joanna Carver/Public Affairs Specialist
UTSA biomedical engineering freshman Robert Trevino was a high school student working part-time at H-E-B when his grandfather began using a wheelchair.
“My grandfather had just had back surgery,” Trevino said. “He really didn’t want anyone to help him with anything. He hated it.”
As a result, Trevino was inspired to create the Boundless Cart, a shopping cart that is lower to the ground and shallower than regular shopping carts, making it easier for people using wheelchairs to grocery shop.
“A regular shopping cart is deeper than a person in a wheelchair can reach,” he said. “You have a risk of falling.”
Since coming to UTSA last fall, Trevino has been updating and developing the cart. It’s made of PVC pipe, thick netting and wheels, or as he puts it, “Stuff you find at Lowe’s.” It has two levels, and heavier items are meant to be placed on top, as well as adjustable, maneuverable handles so that a wheelchair-bound person can push the cart with minimal effort and awkwardness.
“There are millions of people who suffer from disabilities who are overwhelmed by every day activities,” he said. “Even Meals on Wheels has to deliver to some of them because it’s so hard to shop for themselves.”
A previous model attached to the wheelchair, but Trevino found it was too easy for the cart to get stuck on the wheelchair and so instead installed the adjustable handle, which he said works better. Now, he’s planning on adding cargo netting to the cart to make it more durable.
“Disabled people don’t want to rely on someone else,” he said. “They just need the tools to be able to rely on themselves.”
He was particularly inspired by San Antonio’s reputation as “Military City, USA” and the plight of disabled veterans. In July, he presented the cart at SURF 2015, a military health and research forum at UTSA.
“You don’t need a lot of Boundless Carts,” he said. “You just need a couple there and that could make a world of difference.”